Using a Human Rights Approach To Find Effective Solutions For International Development

Meet Beatrice Maneshi, Founder of Catalystas Consulting an EU-based internationally focused private consulting firm dedicated to providing tailor-made solutions to problems. 

Beatrice Maneshi is an Iranian-American feminist founder of Catalystas Consulting where she and her team uses a human rights approach to support programs and projects that help improve the state of the world. They find effective, efficient, and sustainable solutions to the problems of the organizations they work with. They focus on anti-colonialist international development, intersectional peace and security programming, and sustainable inclusion practice. 

It all started when Maneshi was working with multi-laterals and NGOs which were more often than not run by white men “armchair experts” making major but problematic interventions in other countries. She found it uninformed, expensive, and sometimes even harmful. That’s when she and her co-founder realized there was a better way. They decided to take a leap of faith towards being different and supporting organizations to avoid the hegemonies they observed in the security, development, and diplomacy spaces. 

Growing up, Beatrice’s childhood was hard. She faced the reality of the world at a very young age. It broke her heart, but she learned to transform the anger into energy. She combined it with hard work and passion, and eventually, it led her to where she is today. She is a stubborn and unapologetic woman who is also grateful for her amazing support network. 

Talking a bit about Catalystas Consulting, she says, “We support activists, NGOs, social sustainable businesses, governments, and multilateral actors: Aspire, Fund, Do, and Assess gender-informed programing, policies, and practices in the world.” To start this feminist collective, she was inspired by the inter sectional feminist leaders around her and empowered by a large part of the “me too” movement. Based in Amsterdam, the firm serves private and public corporations, NGOs, international institutions, and government bodies. Maneshi’s work has influenced policies and programming at the MENA, West African, EU, and global policy levels.

As a young Iranian female leader who is also dyslexic, Beatrice faced a lot of challenges. However, with time, she learned to fight against them more effectively. Currently, her biggest challenge is lack of time. “If only there was more life force and hours in the day,” she says. Becoming a founder comes with an extra set of responsibilities that extend beyond office hours. She is, however, making the most of her time by focusing on the growth of the firm and as well as their clients.

Beatrice is happy to see that she, her co-founder, and her team have been recognized as inspirational. Also, that they can work while referring to themselves as proud feminists, and the term is not considered derogatory. This signifies a change that she wishes to see in the world. Sharing how her life has changed with the firm and inspiring her readers to do the same, she says, “I get to live my dream! I wake up sometimes and think, is this really my life, I get to say this is my job, and this is what I do. I want to build my self-worth and esteem to such a level that I can radiate strength and pass it to others — and that’s what I’m really hoping to do.